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Breaking the auto barrier: almost one in five Americans get Internet radio in cars

Edison Research/Arbitron’s anticipated study on online radio is out, and it suggests that a significant barrier on Internet radio listening may be broken soon. According to the survey, seventeen percent of mobile phone owners have streamed online radio in their automobiles by jacking a handheld into their car radio receiver device. That’s a fifty percent boost from 2011, Edison says, when 11 percent reported connecting their smartphone to a car stereo.

The research groups disclosed some advanced details from the study in March. It’s entitled The Infinite Dial 2012: Navigating Digital Platforms. The weekly usage of online terrestrial radio streams and Pandora “pure play” has jumped from 22 percent of Americans twelve years and older in 2011 to 29 percent in 2012, the report discloses. That’s a 30 percent boost in a year.

“We’ve been tracking the usage of online radio in this series since 1998, and this year’s increase in weekly usage is the largest year-over-year jump we’ve ever recorded,” says Arbitron’s Bill Rose.

More significant details from the report:

“Americans age 45 and older represent the largest percentage increase in social media usage in the past year, now up to 38 percent (from 31 percent in 2011).”

“Vast Majority of Online Radio Listeners Also Listen to Over-the-Air Radio.” 87 percent of them also listened to AM/FM radio in the last week.

“One in Three At-Work Radio Listeners Listen On a Computer or Mobile Device.” 68 percent of that listening is to “regular” radio stations.

“Pandora Shows Year-Over-Year Growth.” 16 percent reported listening to the service in the last week of 2012. It was 10 percent in 2011.

I’m still agnostic on how significant that car statistic is. The survey question was “% of Cell Phone Owners Who Have Ever Listened to Online Radio in a Car by Listening to the Stream From a Cell Phone Connected to a Car Stereo.” Note the word “ever,” which I italicized. It would be helpful to get more data on consistent, as opposed to possibly experimental, use.

The researchers interviewed 2,020 individuals on their digital platform use from January 20 to February 19, 2012.


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